Monday, August 31, 2015

My little dog from Hell

Well when he was upset, he was bad.

Boduke was boarded and neutered during my last trip. As they opened his cage, I saw those black shining eyes ready to attack Roberto and the young woman at the vet's office. I scooped up my little baby dog. When he saw either of them him gave a menacing look. They fixed a hood to keep him from chewing his stitches.

We had a warning that he was bad. I got a call on my cell phone that I did not answer at the conference. Then my mom called which I answered. I never get calls and this one happened at the start of a program by one of the presenters. It obviously pissed her off and I could feel the agreement of the people in the class.

What I felt was "Kiss my Ass". I have been a conformist my entire life. But there is a time you rebel like when your mother calls. She was concerned about Boduke. She was thinking of going to get him. They called. I told her, leave him. She did.

The phone call was a nuisance to the presenter but for me it was important. Believe me, my mother did not need to be driving nor did Boduke need to be in the house. My sister would have picked up her dog who fights Boduke. My mother would be mindful to keep them separate, but other family members are fairly slack.

Boduke went back to get the one stitch left taken out. He was worried. He was wearing a muzzle. He did pretty well. Lying beside me, he is a sweet little boy as I type this. I've never owned a dog who could get so carried away in his passion.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

If by Rudyard Kipling

I don't know about you, but I am just tired Miley Cyrus. She is just one thing in the news I groan when I see it like election commercials just before an election or the endless news cycle of the same news story with a different title,

The news in the states is the same.  Our political fabric is more dysfunctional. Rich men rule.

So I read, escape. I think the poem If by Rudyard Kipling is appropriate.

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ok Dog Lovers, my dogs are some of the coolest.

When I got home Sunday night, my sister's dog howled a yodel none of us had heard before.

My sister's dachshund is spending the week with us. I have become her special person. I allow her to sit on my lap instead of Boduke. He accepts the deal and periodically looks mournfully from another chair. But when my pit bull looks utterly destroyed it was too funny. Then the dachsy decides to get cozier with me and spots my German Shephard mix and growls. These two elderly girls are having a rivalry with one another. 

At least the motives of dog politics are more transparent than human ones.

I have recovered from the Writer's Police Academy. It is a whirlwind of information. I learned enough this time to know it is only the tip of the iceberg. I doubt I go to another conference for awhile. I've got to finish something to justify going. I am going to a small one day conference in Columbus, GA.

My first encounter with the academy was mind boggling. I had gone to a local conference where most of the attendees were unpublished. To drop amongst a group who had published not one or two books but perhaps 20 was a shift in perspective for me. What left the biggest impression on me is how open all the writers are to one another. So many touched me in so many ways.

Part of becoming a writer is defining what you think. Mixing fact with fancy, developing a plot, dreaming up people can be as much craft as imagination. I was surprised to learn there was a list of tropes or common personalities used in stories. My present study is the nature of comedy.

My big thought is to choose my books to read. I have this imaginary homework advisor that I am having a hard time shutting down.

My biggest revelation about writing is that it is a passion. It can be a money making enterprise if you write for that.  I still think it is a stroke of luck the "50 Shades" books took off. The free part on Amazon read like so many notes I have taken up from children. I have no real beef against pulp fiction. It is just that residual teacher in me that does not care for some of the books insights.

Karen Slaughter was a real hoot in spiel at the conference. She is a might too young to be reminiscing about some of Atlanta's history. One aspect of the South is that the past is always nearby. Allison Brannen brought out salient points such as do your research, learn the detail, but use just enough detail to keep your reader involved with the story.

My favorite were the active duty cops. The focus was more on the police work than writing. I had a hard time choosing between listening to the query shark Janet Reid and the former narcotics police officer. I know so much about querying. Besides, I am not querying at the moment. However, she was a worthwhile listen. More importantly, I lost my trepidation of the New York agent. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's good to be home

I'm waiting in the hotel lobby for the shuttle. Instead of muzak, a live piano is being played. There are occasional gaps or wrong notes, but it is great.

I have always loved live music. When an artist plays in a small venue, it is because their career is starting or moving down. It is such a pity artist are only seen at their best when their popularity wanes. Those huge cavernous beer drinking conventions that masquerade as concerts have always been a disappointment.

I went to a Travis Tritt show where two pretty girls in their twenties talked loudly during the entire acoustic performance. When they yelled and lifted their beers to a rousing chorus of gospel music, I felt shame for them as they grinned broadly at each other. I don't think they liked the music. They didn't stop to listen.

I'm finishing this post at home. The hurry up and wait began about noon today. I caught the 2:30 shuttle, the plane left at 4:30 and arrived at 7:30. I went straight to baggage claim and out to the shuttle service to my home. Talk about luck, the driver was closing the luggage doors to get ready to leave the airport. I got home about 10:45. It has been a day to say the least.

But this morning was crazier, my mother was cranky. I don't know if she is always cranky or this is just my welcome back cranky. It is hard on anyone when their routine is disrupted. I made the mistake of saying the house smelt like dog piss. My sister does a good job taking care of my mom and siblings.   The mop is soon getting a workout.

I've freed some of my dogs from the vet. I board the two large ones. Boduke got boarded because he was neutered. Plus he and my sister's dog Booboo want to have big fight whenever they see each other. Each one weighs nine pounds. Boduke uses the strategy, get behind my mother and let her knock the crap out of Boo.  Louise has a smile on her face as she sits on her favorite chair. I hate to think my house smells worse than pee.

My sister is ten years younger than me. I am busy downsizing. She has gifted me with a nice nightstand and bookcase. I'll be sixty next year. I have a goal to unload as much of my house as possible by my birthday. You seem ungrateful to turn down a gift. But, I am determined to get rid of the clutter. I open drawers and boxes to clothes and items I forget I had.

Meanwhile, I brought home about ten books to read. I know, I am going to have to change my ways. It is nice to be home.
Mr. Boduke

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Flying ain't what it used to be.

I'm soon to be off in the pursuit of a gallon cup of coffee. The demitasse of slightly warm coffee at the complimentary breakfast this morning did not do the job. I'm in Appleton, Wisconsin for the Writer's Police Academy. My works in progress are not crime novels. However, it is interesting and a big slice of real life to enliven anything I am working on.

The flight from Atlanta was quick. I can't say comfortable. They have compressed seats so much in coach you get to know your neighbor too damn well. I got a quick search over at the Atlanta airport. It has been about five years since I went through airport security. I got the screen of my touch pad scratched. You have to take it out of the case and the slam bam rush of everything.

I guess flying has lost its adventure. I remember my first flight on Eastern airlines. Navigating the big Atlanta airport. Riding the train, the portable sidewalks. It was all good. I never thought I would get to ride in a plane. I also thought I would retire and never use a computer too.

My carry on bag only had a camera, laptop, and few items, but it became heavy as heck. The portable sidewalk was not working partway and hoofing it between Terminals T to A and B, I exhaustively rushed to capture the train to terminal D.

I did get a burrito at Chipotles at the Airport and it was great. In my rushing about to leave that morning, all I had eaten was a few crackers and a cup of coffee. So, the food may have been good due to hunger.

I came a day early, I wanted to enjoy the entire conference. I've become sophisticated enough now to not talk to anyone casually. I am not familiar with the who's who of the writing world. I find myself talking to someone who is incredibly successful in the writing world and it is obvious I don't know them from Adam's houseplant. I did that at the Southeastern Writer's Conference but they were from the same neck of the woods as I. So it did not seem as rude.

I am clueless on how to seriously chit chat. I guess I will be myself. I may come from the known edge of civilization, but I got something to say too.

My sister is staying at my house this week to be available to my mom, brother, and sister and live with me. Her little dog Boo Boo was missing but returned quite dirty.  Apparently, he set up shop under the house. She didn't have the heart to board him and he is too much for my mother and her little girls so my sister left him outside. Thanks for prayers for the sweet soul. I understand he is at the boarding facility now.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Stepping Back

Sometimes, I wish I did not know things.

The first is relatively minor. It is that your blog posts are cached by different search engines, and if you delete your blog or change its name, your old blog name can be resurrected with old posts cached as content. Your content and old blogs used by someone else. You can prevent this by keeping a blog stub online.

I had two email addresses hijacked with each trying to be named as an admin on this blog. It is hard to believe an obscure blog such as this one would be of interest.I was spared my blog being taken from me in that I use different email addresses for different purposes.

The other one is pretty major in that it concerns our health. One moment you are completely healthy and then you get a phone call or letter. All of a sudden you are worried. My father had a massive heart attack. The doctor said if my dad had been standing in front of him in the ER, he would not have been able to save him. I had a great uncle who went to the doctor one day and got a clean bill of health. That night he died from a heart attack.

We are gearing up for another hazardous election season. No matter how you stand, each side is sure the other one will cause the country to collapse. My father used to say. No matter what happens, people will get by.

My father grew up in the "dirty thirties" or the American depression of the 1930's. The South was hit harder than any other part of the country. Some of the soul and sadness of the South is from being on the losing end of the Civil War. More is due to the poverty so many of it's citizens endured. The South has had a system with wealth concentrated with a few people.

Industrialization and mobilization helped Southerners. We read about black Americans moving to northern cities for jobs and more freedom. White Southerners also moved north and westward to California for opportunity. Three of my dad's brothers married and made lives in Minnesota after World War II. There were not enough jobs to keep them in Georgia.

You drive through rural Georgia and find abandoned home after abandoned home. People did not return. There are shadows and as most Southerners know, many tales of what has been. Fairy tales begin with "Once Upon A Time", but in the South they begin with "You ain't going to believe what just happened to me". I got that joke from an internet meme.

Older folks tried to tell me stories when I was young. I was in a hurry and politely listened. Now I have questions. I wish I had listened. Another thing I know now.


Is it leisure or lazy?  I did well to have a few posts written early. Now, I am feeling the pressure. My response to pressure is the urge to...